Fan Friday—Being Offended

I posted on Facebook that I wasn’t “offended” by a damn thing. Some of my friends commented to “give me time,” figuring they could come up with something…some of them posted things that they thought I SHOULD be offended by…

So here’s the deal:

You know when you say, “No offense,” to someone you may have just unwittingly insulted? This is the true meaning of “offense.” Well, other than the one with criminal connotations. We’ve all blurted out things to someone, immediately following with that “no offense,” just in case that person was part of what we’d insulted.

And we all cut our friends more slack on their views than we do someone we’ve never met or with whom we have little or no personal connection.

It rather amuses me to see the things people claim to be “offended” by:

Using a rainbow to symbolize LGBT. Telling Christians what they can or cannot say. The Confederate flag.

These are just a few that have lately been in the news.

Do any of these things “offend” or “insult” me? No. Not a bit. Anything else? Nope. Not that I can think of at the moment. Feel free to comment and see what you can find…

However, yes, some things “concern” me, and I use that word to indicate that things like infringing on freedom of speech and trying to eradicate a symbol of Southern heritage should not be happening. Should. Not.

I can see some of you asking “why??” Or “why not??” And I’ll tell you.

Here in the US of A, we have freedom of speech. Period. Yes, the old “you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” definition still applies, but we’ve become a nation of pansies, wimps, wusses, whatever word you want to use. Words are changed or eliminated because “someone takes offense.” Bullshit. Get over it.

Let’s talk about the flag. Right or wrong, wherever you stand on racism or slavery is your right to do so. Me, I happen to think both are wrong, but—here it comes—the Confederate flag is part of our history. ALL of us. It can be a source of pride to some, shame for others, but no one alive today was actually PRESENT during the Civil War or immediately before and after. NO ONE.

My ancestors, Wilford, Alford, Buford, and Stanford, fought for the South. None owned slaves. I certainly can’t say whether they agreed with racism or slavery; I never met them, obviously. And no, I did NOT make up those names. Last name was Smith. Naturally.

These boys—and Stanford was 14 when he joined up—fought for states’ rights, another platform of the War that has been all but forgotten. Sure, one of their so-called rights was to own other human beings, but let’s not lose sight of the entire picture, all the other rights that these folks felt the federal government was trying to take away.

And again, right or wrong, we can’t obliterate our history. Someone once said, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” Look it up.

In general, you can certainly dislike something, or even hate it. That doesn’t mean you are or should be “offended” by it. There are a lot of memes circulating now with the saggy pants picture, and the caption “I’m offended by this.” No, you aren’t. How could that possibly cause offense? Or insult? No, I don’t want to see some kid’s undies, but it doesn’t really affect me one way or the other. Never will, even by the most far-fetched extrapolation. I don’t like it, but that doesn’t make me offended.

So let’s leave this word, offended, alone for a while. See what happens when you truly stop and think before you use it. Are you instead insulted? Then say so—but be careful here, too, because what exactly does that mean?

If someone tells me I’m a crappy writer, I’d be insulted. Same for a few other things that I know I’m not, but some may have a different opinion—and that’s all it is, an opinion. In other words, it’s personal, and I’d be offended.

But truly, how can anyone be offended by someone else’s opinion, particularly that of someone you don’t know? It’s not personal, generally. Someone liking the Confederate flag or the rainbow flag or bashing Christians in no way diminishes MY thoughts, opinions, and feelings about any of these things.

Most of the time, when someone I don’t know disagrees with me, my thoughts include such gems as “You’re an idiot” or I simply shake my head, knowing that person is simply wrong. Sure, sometimes I’ll argue or debate, but mostly just for entertainment—or I’ll speak my piece and leave the conversation.

It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t care that much for the opinions and feelings I believe to be wrong, and I know it’s an uphill battle to drastically change someone’s mind. I have the time and energy to take care of me and mine, and not worry overly much about unknown individuals.

And if all that offends you, well, too bad.


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